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LHC orders Punjab governor to complete Hamza Shahbaz’s oath process by tomorrow

Lahore High Court Wednesday ordered Punjab Governor Sarfraz Cheema to complete the oath-taking process of newly-elected Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz Sharif by tomorrow (April 28).

LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti issued the ruling on a petition filed by Hamza seeking a direction to the Senate chairman to administer the oath as the governor had refused to perform his constitutional duty citing flaws in chief minister’s election.

Hamza, the son of newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, was elected chief minister of Punjab with 197 votes amid chaos on April 16. However, he could not take up the new role yet as the oath-taking ceremony was deferred twice despite orders from the high court to resolve the crisis as soon as possible. 

CJ Bhatti has directed the governor to himself administer the oath to the CM-elect or appoint a representative as his replacement. 

The high court chief justice also remarked that the largest province of the country has no active government for last 25 days, adding that the governor is duty-bound to take oath from the CM-elect.

“…., it is suggested / advised / proposed that Governor shall ensure the completion of the process of administration of oath of Chief Minister Punjab, either himself or through his nominee, in terms of Article 255 ofthe Constitution, on or before 28.04.2022.3.

“Moreover, President of Pakistan, who is alsounder constitutional obligation to facilitate theexpeditious administration of oath of PrimeMinister or Chief Minister in any Province, hence, is suggested to play his role mandated bythe Constitution/Law, ensuring a functionalProvincial Government in Punjab,” read the order.

The high court had reserved the verdict on Tuesday after both sides completed arguments in the case.

During the previous hearing, Advocate General Punjab Ahmed Owais informed the court that the governor believed that the election for the Punjab chief minister was not held under the Constitution. It is the reason, he is not taking oath from Hamza, the top provincial law officer added.

At this, the LHC chief justice asked the AG to explain if it is in the Constitution that governor himself will observe the proceedings of the House.

AGP also informed the court that President Dr Arif Alvi is now looking into the matter as he has received the court orders three days ago. 

Expressing dismay over inaction by the president, LHC CJ said that there is no chief executive for last 25 days. 

Courtesy: Daily Pakistan

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